Q&A: Andy Wise

Channel 5's restaurant watchdog dishes it out.



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Let’s start with the low-scoring or failing restaurants. Do they always know you’re coming?

Yes, they get a phone call. The only time I’d ambush a restaurant is if they’ve had four consecutive failures (below 70).

Worst violation you’ve seen?

The most egregious violation was roaches on the meat slicer. The [manager’s] explanation? “Well, Andy, the roaches were dead. It’s not like they were alive or something.”

Ever been thrown out of a restaurant?

Nobody’s bodily handled me like they have with some of my investigative stories. But some have just invited me to leave.

You follow up with some restaurants who previously failed, right?

Yes, that’s a redemptive value for them. They’ll say, “Come on, Andy, let me show you how we’re improving.” They’re more forthcoming, and that is not lost on the viewers.

What about the high scorers?

We like to surprise them. I come in and make a scene and people cheer. Once a Quiznos in Bartlett made a 98. I walked in during a busy lunch period and the manager said, “Yes! I knew you were coming!” Owners are out there wondering if Andy is gonna show up.

Tell us about “The Big Tip.”

That’s part of the positive aspect I wanted to include. Through social media, viewers can nominate their favorite restaurants for a review and that gives them some ownership in the segment. In some ways they’re actually producing the show.

How often do you eat out?

About 50-50. Our family’s schedule lends itself to that. (He and his wife of 20 years have two teenagers, a daughter and a son.)

What are your favorite restaurants?

Restaurant Iris is wonderful. The experience at Flight is second to none. And I’m a big fan of Aldo Dean, who owns Bardog, The Slider Inn, and Aldo’s Pizza Pies.

 

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